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August 22, 2020

Andy Murray

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

A. MURRAY/F. Tiafoe

7-6, 3-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Welcome back to the tour. What was it like for you on a personal level being back out there in an ATP match? It had been a while for you. And if you could speak a little bit generally about the atmosphere out there and what it's like when in this unusual setting?

ANDY MURRAY: There isn't really an atmosphere, to be honest with you. Yeah, so that's obviously a little bit tricky.

I mean, I know it's a bit of a cliché, but you need to kind of create your own atmosphere a bit on the court. It's just not quite the same.

I said in my interview, like, after the match on the court that it's obviously pretty hot, tough conditions, you know, and I felt like it was going to be the case before the match, but, like, in difficult moments or whatever, like a crowd being there sort of maybe helps you focus a little bit more and sometimes gives you that little bit extra boost in terms of your energy or whatever, your concentration, and that's not there. It's certainly different in that respect.

I thought I did quite well with that. Like at the beginning of the third set I made, like, a big effort to, you know, give as much energy as possible on the court. Fist pumping and trying to be positive, you know, that helped a bit.

Q. How was the physicality of the match? Do you know how long you're going to have before you'll have to play again?

ANDY MURRAY: So I'm not playing tomorrow, so I've got a day off, which is good, because that was -- yeah, that was obviously a pretty long match. The points weren't unbelievably physical. There were a few long rallies, but yeah, the points weren't particularly long.

Physically, I thought I did pretty well. You know, I moved maybe better than what I expected to. The first few matches back when I started playing singles last year, you know, I moved way worse than I did today, so that was positive.

My tennis could have been better. I thought I could have played a bit better. You know, I guess that will come, the more matches I play. But, you know, I always need to see as well how I recover from a match like that too, because, you know, although I felt good during the match, things can sometimes stiffen up and hurt a bit afterward.

I'm happy with how I did today. Would have liked to have played a bit better, but physically I was good. That is the most important thing for me, because that hasn't been the case for the last ten months.

Q. I just wondered, obviously you played matches at Roehampton this summer, Battle of the Brits, but going into an ATP event, do you feel different mentally in terms of your preparation for it? Do you feel nervous? And is that a good feeling? Because I guess this is what you have done all the work and rehab over the last sort of two or three years for.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, look, I'm not knocking those events, because I enjoyed playing them and they were good for preparation, but, you know, when I play in these events, yeah, these are some of the biggest events that we play on the tour against the best players in the world.

They go down on your record like when you finish playing and all of those sorts of things, that they add to my motivation and my concentration, preparation, you know. You know, everything is very different than it would be going into sort of an exhibition event, if you like.

You know, those events, I learnt a lot about kind of where my body was at, and also I played some good tennis in them at times. But, yeah, my concentration and everything is significantly better at a tournament like this, and yeah, for sure more nerves, yeah, because there is just more meaning to it, really. For me, anyway. You know, I don't know about the other players, but for me it's different.

Q. I just wonder how much you have had to modify your training, in particular since November since you had the latest setback? Are you able to train as hard now as you always used to?

ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, my training kind of, really up until the last two, three weeks since November has not been the same like in terms of how much time I have had on the court.

You know, a lot of weeks I have been hitting like three days a week for like an hour and a half, and all of the focus is on rehab and getting my hip as strong as possible in every position.

And I basically have done three separate kind of six through eight weeks of rehab. There was like different stages of it which was set by a physio who works in London called James Moore, who has been fantastic and has really helped me a lot.

So, yeah, I have kind of done that, and tennis has not been a priority. It wasn't until I landed -- well, it was a few days before I came over here tennis became the priority and, you know, I have been trying to practice more and not spend too much time in the gym, because I have done more than that in these last four or five months than I probably have in my career. You know, normally I spend time in the gym but not as much as what I have done.

Q. Are you at all concerned that not having been able to put in the sheer volume of work that you have been used to in the past, is that going to affect how well you're going to be able to last in matches and in tournaments?

ANDY MURRAY: Potentially, yeah. But I said like when I spoke to my team and stuff about getting ready for here, like my goal was to come in and my hip be feeling good. That is what I wanted.

So I don't mind how much tennis I get to play. I know that will come with time and the more practice and the more matches I get. But my concern for me was my hip not being right, and I wanted to get that, like I said, as strong as possible to compete again.

Obviously today was competing again at the highest level. I managed to win a match. I'm getting an opportunity to play against a top player in a couple days' time. That's what I wanted.

So the more time now I get on court with top players, the quicker my level will get back to where I want it to be.

Q. Over the past few years you have had obviously kind of numerous layoffs, and from that many first matches back and comebacks. Curious what you take from those past experiences coming into now and if you kind of feel like you know what you're doing? Like before you said, you know, the tennis will come. But do you have an idea of kind of what to expect a bit more now?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I would say that, yeah, probably to say have lower expectations. Yeah, I mean, I think that's kind of it.

Like I said, I know the tennis will come, but it's also not going to come back immediately, so, yeah, it's just not to expect, like, straight off the bat to be playing perfect. Like, for example, the first set today, the tiebreak and stuff was bad level. It was not good tennis, in my opinion.

But I got through it and I didn't get too down on myself. I didn't expect to play unbelievable today. But, you know, I spoke with my coach and stuff the last couple of days, and we were saying, like -- well, he was saying to me, like, you're good enough to win matches, like even when you're not feeling good, and to remember that sometimes.

I think that's one of the things that, you know, I need to remember. Obviously if you play the top players, you know you're going to have to play a high level of tennis, but, you know, there are certain matches you can get through not playing your best, and, you know, I think I did that today.

Q. It looked, from watching you on TV, at least, that the conditions were pretty quick, the court was faster than in previous years. I know it's a new court. Was that the case? And if it is, is that something that could help you over the next few weeks?

ANDY MURRAY: So I practiced on Ashe, but the roof was closed and it's much slower on there. The outside courts I have practiced on have been very quick.

I really like playing on fast courts, contrary to what people may say about me, and my best tennis has always been played on quicker courts. But I like more playing slower balls on fast courts. I think it then allows to play all sorts of tennis, really.

Here, the balls, they start medium paced, but after a couple of games they are lightning fast. They get quicker. Usually most of the balls that are used on the tour, after a few games, they slow down. Whereas here they lose a lot of the fur, and when it's hot it's bouncing and they are very difficult to control.

So I have always struggled a little bit with that. But I don't mind fast conditions. I like playing when it's quicker. Sometimes when it's very hot here, it can be tough to control the ball.

But, yeah, I think the stadium courts, Ashe and Armstrong, from speaking to the players and from my practices on Ashe, I felt like it was a lot slower than the court I played on today.

Q. Playing Zverev next, how do you assess his career since you beat him at the Australian four years ago? And does this represent your hardest, toughest opponent since the hip surgery last year?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I guess like in terms of ranking and stuff it would be. I mean, I thought I played -- yeah, like in Asia and stuff, I played against Thiem. I have no idea what the difference in their rankings is, or I don't know exactly what they are ranked, but yeah, he'd be up there, for sure. And he's obviously been up at the top of the game for a number of years now.

So, yeah, it will be a good test for me, for sure. You know, he's played well in the Masters Series, maybe in the slams not played as well I know for the last few years. But Masters Series he definitely played well.

You know, he moves well for a big guy, solid off the ground. Has struggled at times with his serve. You know, when he's serving well he's obviously one of the top players in the world.

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